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There are a several different ways to manage tuition, lesson frequency and length, and missed lessons. You will want to determine the best approach for your studio and outline it clearly in your policy. This is often the area that parents/students may want you to bend on, so be certain that you are comfortable with this section of your policy and willing to stand by it. I will include this section of my policy below as an example. You may use as much or as little of it as you would like.
- Lesson to Lesson Basis – This approach offers the most flexibility for both the student and teacher, but does not offer a reliable source of income. Students are billed at the end of the month, determined by the number of lessons they attend. If they miss a lesson, they are not charged for it. This is helpful when things come, which they do, but it can become a problem if parents/students do not make their lesson time a priority. Some teachers require 24 hours notice for no lesson charge to incur, which discourages students and parents from not showing up to lessons for minor reasons. You may offer make up lessons with this approach, or you may choose not to. Of the approaches to charging tuition, this approach requires the highest level of record keeping.
- Monthly Basis – This approach offers a reliable source of income and encourages consistent attendance. Make up lessons should be offered, but you may require 24 hours notice before cancellation. Tuition is most often collected at the beginning of the month. It is common to charge a late fee if tuition is not received by the 10th of the month. This approach requires a moderate amount of record keeping.
- Semester Fee – This approach also offers a reliable source of income, and encourages consistent attendance, but does not offer flexibility if either student or teacher chooses to discontinue lessons. This approach requires minimal record keeping. A late fee is usually incurred if tuition is not received by the second week of the semester, with additional late fees incurring every week after that.
Are parents required to attend all lessons? This is a common requirement with the Suzuki method. Do you plan to teach over the summer? Are there lessons on holidays? Will you hold lessons on the 5th week of a month? Do you offer make up lessons? If so, how far in advance do they need to notify? These are all questions you will want to address in your policy.
My policy - Below is the text in my policy regarding tuition and lessons.
- Tuition for ½ hour private lessons or 1-hour group lessons for 2011 is $60 per month payable on or before the first lesson of each month. Please pay by check as no receipt will be given unless requested. You may also opt for direct deposit if that is more convenient.
- Some months may have 5 lessons for which there will be no extra charge. Some months may have only 3 (because of holidays). However, monthly tuition is the same.
- There are no deductions or refunds for missed lessons if 24 hours notice is not given. I will tryto schedule a make-up lesson for students who notify me in advance that they will not be attending their lesson. There will be no make-ups for missed make-up lessons. There are no make-up lessons for missed group classes.
- I will "pro-rate" tuition for students who begin lessons after the first week of the month.
- There is no extra charge for recitals (which are held once a year).
- With the exception of my group classes, most of the student's piano music will be purchased by the student. Some will be loaned to students. Please take good care of music and return when done!
- In an effort to have more productive lessons, as of January 2011, students in my private studio will be required to arrive for their lessons 10 minutes early. This time will be used to warm up on my second piano across the hall and give them a chance to play through all their assigned songs.
- Private lessons will continue through the summer, with one month off – usually June or July, but it may vary from year to year. Group lessons will not take place for the months of June-August.
- I encourage parents to come and observe the first lesson so that the student can become comfortable and familiar with the new environment. Following the first lesson, I have found that students are more attentive when their parents are not present.